A new type of dinosaur that roamed the South of England up to 140 million years ago has been discovered by scientists.

Researchers say the predatory carnivore, which was identified from a tooth that lay hidden in a drawer for more than a century, was a member of the spinosaurus family which rivalled the T Rex in strength and power.

The fossil was unearthed in Sussex and given to the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery in 1889.

Chris Barker, a PhD student at Southampton University who was the lead author of the study in science journal PeerJ Life and Environment, said: "We used a variety of techniques to identify this specimen in order to test whether isolated spinosaur teeth could be referred to Baryonyx.

"The tooth did not group with Baryonyx in any of our data runs. It must belong to a different type of spinosaur."


Spinosaurs had crocodile-like skulls that enabled them to hunt in water as well as on land.

The results show distinct and distantly related types lived in the region during the Early Cretaceous.

The Argus: A map of where the remains of the genus of dinosaur has been found in SussexA map of where the remains of the genus of dinosaur has been found in Sussex (Image: SWNS)

Baryonyx roamed what is now Guildford at least 125 million years ago. The land mass was much further south at the time - roughly where Gibraltar is now.

The tooth was collected from the same layer of rocks deposited across south-eastern England. Remains of Baryonyx were dug up in Surrey in 1983.

They are among the world's finest and most detailed spinosaur specimens - revealing the true appearance of the fish-eating beast.

The study backs previous research by Southampton's EvoPalaeoLab that the spinosaurs of southern England are more diverse than thought.

Co-author Dr Neil Gostling said: "Museums themselves are places to make exciting discoveries as our understanding of specimens changes from the time they were deposited.

The Argus: A picture showing the remains foundA picture showing the remains found (Image: SWNS)

"What this work highlights is the importance of keeping collections alive and developing our understanding of them.”

Co-author Dr Darren Naish said: "Our new study shows that previously unrecognised spinosaur species exist in poorly known sections of the Wealden’s history and we hope that better remains will be discovered that improves our knowledge.

"Here's another reminder that even well-studied places like southern England have the potential to yield new dinosaur species."